Saida Cup Report

12/07/2015

A difficult and changeable forecast gave Jamie Clark, PRO and his team of RTYC helpers a tough job setting the courses over the weekend. The North Westerly didn’t materialise, but after 3 attempts to set a fair start line, racing was started in a 12 knot westerly.
 
In race 1 on the first beat, the breeze moved left, catching all except Peter Rogers' Highlife out, and so it was Highlife from Stampede who broke well away from the pursuing  pack, the second group was led by Bleddyn Mon sailing absent tennis fan David Franks’ Straight Dealer at the first mark, and on the second upwind leg, Stampede tried to break cover on Highlife, but with the pair frequently tacking, it allowed Straight Dealer to sail around the two boats to take first place, little did we know that this was the start of Straight Dealer’s weekend charge.
 
Race 2 got away in a building 16 knot breeze, and it was Straight Dealer who led from start to finish, they primarily ignored the wind shifts, sailing as per Straight Dealer’s main sheet/tactician Graham Sunderland’s Winning Tides chart, to comfortably win the race, in what was now marginal planing conditions down wind. Straight Dealer showed that their weekend’s setup gave them a dominant speed advantage over the rest of the fleet.
 
With a wind now in excess of 20 kts and the hither to flat seas getting quite bumpy, PRO Jamie Clark AP’d race 3 in order to sensibly fly the Y flag to ensure all crews were wearing their buoyancy aids. And for the third race, electric pumps came into their own, with even under the most careful of helms the boats unable to avoid crashing through waves, waves that were occasionally standing in excess of 3 feet and almost vertical, it was wet up wind. But sailing downwind made up for the upwind pain, with the fleet planing and surfing, spray was everywhere, unfortunately so were the 3ft plus waves to submarine into, yet again it was Straight Dealer who led from start to finish.
 
At the Saturday evening keel boat barbeque held at the RLYC, Daring sailors, who sailed one of their major events on the next race course on Saturday commented, “how impressive and controlled the Etchells looked full on downwind planing”, as the Daring fleet had elected to dispense racing with their spinnakers by then, us Etchells sailors managed to resist the temptation of explaining, our “controlled sailing”, was just hang on and hope, luckily our fleet only had 1 major spin out.
 
Sunday morning was breezy, with a forecast of even greater winds than on Saturday, Jamie Clark took the fleet to the Peel Bank area to try and at least find flat water, and that he did. But the wind, was constantly changing, from 12 to 25kts, and swinging 25 to 30 degrees, racing was a true game of snakes and ladders, except for one boat, Straight Dealer, good starts and freedom to tack at will, meant they were able to sail in the stronger breeze when and where they wanted, and the 4 up advantage gave them, and the other 4 up crews the ability to work the boat downwind more easily that the 3 up crews as the boats went on and off the plane.
 
Until the last race and the last beat of the day Straight Dealer was hardly challenged, and it was a tacking duel with youth helm Rosie Watkins, helming Mano, who had merged crews with other youth helm, Matt Reid for the weekend, that almost came close to spoiling Bleddyn Mon’s perfect scores for the Weekend, 6 races 6 wins. A great display of controlled speed and sailing.
 
1st Strait Dealer
2nd Highlife
3rd Ziggy
4th Mano
5th Manta
6th Stampede
7th Sumo
8th A Little Xcitable